The architectural concept for the retail portion of the Calabasas Park Centre was well received on first look by the City Council, which praised the developer for incorporating community suggestions into the design.
Developer Rick Caruso, who is negotiating to buy the eastern section of the project development from Kilroy Calabasas Associates, brought the concept design to the council's meeting Wednesday night to determine whether he was "going in the right direction."
Although one councilman had misgivings about placement of the movie theater, the council as a whole urged Caruso to continue.
The project would be in the style of a European village, with a large tower and several open plazas that would encourage pedestrian traffic and "be a place to hang out," the developer said.
"We wanted to get as close to an authentic village as we could," Caruso said of the design.
Caruso also asked the council to move swiftly to approve the project, which has been in limbo for nearly eight years.
The new urgency has arisen because of time constraints on his purchase of the land and to ensure that the project is competitive in attracting tenants, he said.
Caruso added that he has talked with Sundance Cinema officials, a joint venture between Robert Redford and General Cinema Theaters, about bringing an independent film house to the project.
But he noted that he is not the only developer in the West Valley interested in the Sundance plan.
As conceived, the development would include retail shops, a 1,350-seat multiplex theater, a civic center, a hotel and office buildings on Calabasas Road between Park Granada and Parkway Calabasas.
In other business, the council held over a public hearing on the master conditional-use permit for the project--already approved by the Planning Commission--until staff members can answer a few council questions.
The council will consider the permit again next Wednesday at City Hall, 26135 Mureau Road.